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New GE Program FAQ

Important Note: This resource is meant for faculty developing courses, and not for students or advisors seeking courses that fulfill Embedded Literacy requirements. If you are a student seeking courses that fulfill Embedded Literacy requirements, please see your Academic Advisor or visit: https://advising.osu.edu/. Advisors seeking information and clarification surrounding Embedded Literacy requirements should speak to their Advising Administrator. 

Please see below for a FAQ regarding the new GE program (last updated Spring 2024): 

New GE Program FAQ

Foundations courses are meant to be introductory, while Themes courses are meant to be more advanced and to build on the competencies developed in the Foundations.  Existing courses that were originally created for the Legacy GE (GEL) may require substantial revision if a unit is requesting that the course be a part of a GEN Themes category.

Departments will want to consider future demand for certain kinds of courses, but also the nature and ELOs of the courses themselves. 

It is possible for students to earn EM credit for most GEN Foundations courses.  At this time, the only GEN Foundation category that cannot be fulfilled by an Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or A-Level examination is the Race, Ethnicity and Gender Diversity (REGD) requirement.  Because of this, demand at the Foundation level is highest for the REGD category.

It is also possible for students to earn credit at another higher education institution for courses that will fulfill GEN Foundations categories, either during high school or post-high school. 

It is not possible for students to earn EM credit for GEN Themes courses.

It may be possible for students to earn credit at another higher education institution for courses that will fulfill GEN Themes categories.  However, given the advanced, interdisciplinary nature of Themes courses, it would be very unusual for a course taken at another institution to transfer automatically to Ohio State as an approved Themes course.  Thus, departments should know that demand for courses in the Themes is expected to remain high.

Foundations courses will typically be at the 1000 or 2000 level and should not have prerequisites, while Themes courses will typically be at the 2000 level or above.  However, because there is some variation in the way that units number courses, there are no formal rules surrounding course numbering for the Foundations or the Themes. The most important criterion for approval within a category will be the appropriateness of the course to the ELOs of the category for which it seeks approval, not its number.  Units wishing to propose a course with a number outside of these recommendations may wish to include a short statement about the reason for this decision with their course proposal materials.

No. Because the ELOs for Themes courses specify that these courses provide more advanced or in-depth attention to the content, Themes courses are necessarily more advanced than Foundation courses, at least in their treatment of the material covered by the GEN ELOs.  A course can satisfy either a Foundation or a Theme category, but not both.

No. If a course is a GEN Foundation: WIL approved course, it cannot also serve to satisfy the Advanced Writing Embedded Literacy requirement in any major.  Courses that satisfy the latter requirement are, by definition, at a higher level than those in the WIL Foundation and presume completion of the Foundation requirement.

Yes.  As long as a course meets the goals and Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs) for any given category, it can be approved in that category. (Though, as noted above, a course cannot be approved for both a Foundation category and a Themes category.)   

For example, it is expected that some of the courses within the GEN Foundation: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Diversity (REGD) category might also meet the goals and ELOs of the GEN Foundation: Historical and Cultural Studies (HCS) category and could be approved for both categories.  Likewise, a course in the GEN Theme: Sustainability category might also satisfy the goals and ELOs for the GEN Theme: Citizenship for a Diverse and Just World category. 

However, units should note that, from a student’s perspective, a single course cannot be used to fulfill multiple GEN categories — students will need to choose distinct courses to satisfy each category, though they may choose where to utilize a course that is approved in multiple categories.

Yes and yes. Courses that are approved in multiple categories must be designed such that all the goals and ELOs of all of the approved categories are fulfilled in every iteration of the course.  Additionally, since students may “choose” how they utilize a course within their own individual academic program (and may not know at the time they take the course exactly how the course will fit into their academic program), the course design must facilitate all learners fulfilling all goals and ELOs for all approved categories.

Yes.  Syllabi must list the goals and Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs) of all GEL and GEN categories that the course fulfills, and these goals and ELOs must be listed exactly as they appear on the ASC CAS website.  Following the listing of all the goals and ELOs for a given category, all syllabi must also include a short explanation of how that course, in particular, fulfills the goals and ELOs.  Please note that only one paragraph per GEN/GEL category is required; it is not necessary to write a separate explanation for each goal and/or each ELO.

As a rule, it is very important for GEN courses to stay quite close to the syllabus that was approved by the Subcommittee so that the integrity of the General Education curriculum can be maintained.  When reviewing course proposals, Subcommittee members carefully scrutinize lecture topics, readings, assessments, and other course activities to make certain that:

  • all the goals and Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs) of a given category are being met
  • the course's focus on the Theme or Foundation is clear to students
  • both formal and informal assessments will compel students to demonstrate their mastery of the GEN category's ELOs
  • the instructor's evaluation of student work is largely based on students' mastery of the GEN category ELOs

Of course, it is known and expected that syllabi will "ebb and flow" slightly as different instructors take on the material - instruction is often at its most dynamic when instructors are able to relate the course material to their scholarship and research.  The ASCC is also sensitive to how quickly scholarship advances, and it is understood that there are times when it will make sense to update readings and other materials to reflect new findings or creative output in the field.  However, all changes should be carefully scrutinized to make sure that the new activities or readings are serving the same purpose with regard to GEN ELOs as the course components that they are replacing.  If you have any questions about how these guidelines might apply to particular GEN categories or disciplines, please reach out to Bernadette Vankeerbergen.1 or Rachel Steele.682.